Asian American lawmakers are focusing their lobbying efforts on President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenDeVos urges Education Dept. staff to ‘resist’ when Biden takes office LGBTQ groups celebrate Buttigieg pick for Transportation secretary Biden administration needs bipartisan solutions for older Americans, lawmakers say MORE‘s pick to lead the Labor Department as they fight to ensure Asian American and Pacific Islanders are not shut out from a “secretary” role for the first time in two decades.
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), led by Chair Judy ChuJudy May ChuHouse Democrats introduce bill to address diversity at State Department Swalwell, California politicians targeted by Chinese spy: report Biden picks thorn in Trump’s side as new health secretary MORE (D-Calif.), is aggressively pushing Biden to nominate Julie Su, California’s secretary of Labor and Workforce Development and the daughter of Chinese immigrants, as his Labor secretary.
“We strongly support Julie Su for the position of Secretary of Labor and urge President-elect Biden to nominate her to fill this critical vacancy in his administration. Not only would Julie bring greater diversity to the Cabinet, but she is also the most qualified person for the job,” CAPAC wrote in a statement.
“As both a woman of color and the daughter of immigrants, Secretary Su would bring a diversity of thought and experience to the Cabinet. She has dedicated her career to the advancement of workers’ rights, fair labor practices, and advancing equity and opportunities for all workers, including the most vulnerable who are often overlooked,” the caucus wrote.
The Asian American lawmakers shifted their focus to the Labor slot on Wednesday after Biden nominated Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegLGBTQ groups celebrate Buttigieg pick for Transportation secretary Biden taps Buttigieg to serve as Transportation secretary Buttigieg tops list for Biden Transportation secretary: CNN MORE as Transportation secretary, further rounding out top leadership posts in his administration.
CAPAC had been urging Biden to name David. S. Kim, California’s Transportation secretary, to lead the federal Department of Transportation. But at a news conference Wednesday, Biden introduced Buttigieg, a former Indiana mayor and one-time presidential rival, as his nominee for Transportation secretary. Buttigieg is openly gay and would make history as the first openly gay Cabinet secretary to be confirmed by the Senate.
Under fire, Biden transition officials have pointed out that the president-elect has already named several Asian American and Pacific Islanders to Cabinet posts and other top roles. They include Center for American Progress President Neera TandenNeera TandenOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Countries roll out 2030 Paris Accord goals amid US absence | Biden eyes new EPA picks as Nichols reportedly falls from favor | Kerry faces big job on climate, US credibility Making America dull again Progressives frustrated with representation as Biden Cabinet takes shape MORE as director of the Office of Management and Budget; Katherine TaiKatherine TaiProgressives frustrated with representation as Biden Cabinet takes shape Biden urges Americans to ‘have confidence’ in vaccine Asian lawmakers: ‘Unacceptable’ if Biden doesn’t name AAPI Cabinet ‘secretary’ MORE as U.S. trade representative, a Cabinet-level position; and Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyManchin says bipartisan coronavirus relief bill will be unveiled Monday Biden leans on Obama-era talent for top posts Asian lawmakers: ‘Unacceptable’ if Biden doesn’t name AAPI Cabinet ‘secretary’ MORE, who will return to his former role as U.S. surgeon general. Surgeon general is not a Cabinet-level post, though CAPAC had pressed Biden officials to elevate it to no avail.
Biden did tap Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisProgressives rally around Turner’s House bid Lawmakers grapple with implementing COVID-19 vaccine on Capitol Hill Overnight Health Care: FDA endorses safety and efficacy of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine | FDA authorizes first at-home, over counter test | Fauci says Trump, Biden should be vaccinated soon MORE (D-Calif.), the daughter of an Indian immigrant and a CAPAC board member herself, as his running mate. She’s now the vice president-elect and will sit in his Cabinet.
But none of those positions come with a “secretary” title or responsibilities for running a large federal agency.
The window is quickly closing for Asian American and Pacific Islanders. There are only eight Cabinet or Cabinet-level positions that Biden has yet to fill after he named Buttigieg as Transportation secretary and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as Energy secretary this week. Remaining posts include attorney general; secretaries of Commerce, Education, Interior and Labor; Small Business and Environmental Protection Agency administrators; and CIA director.
Asian lawmakers noted that former President Obama, whom Biden served with as vice president for eight years, kicked off his first term with a record three Asian American and Pacific Islander Cabinet secretaries: Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric ShinsekiEric Ken ShinsekiAsian lawmakers: ‘Unacceptable’ if Biden doesn’t name AAPI Cabinet ‘secretary’ The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – COVID-19 vaccine moves ahead. Congress? Not so much OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Biden taps ex-Obama chief for VA | Shutdown looms amid standoff | SCOTUS rules on rape cases in military MORE. President TrumpDonald TrumpTop Trump aide Derek Lyons to leave White House this month Judge rules Trump Org must turn over documents to NY AG as part of probe Longtime GOP strategist Steve Schmidt announces he’s registering Democrat MORE had one Asian American and Pacific Islander Cabinet secretary: Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine ChaoFedEx, UPS announce first deliveries of COVID-19 vaccine in US Buttigieg tops list for Biden Transportation secretary: CNN Asian lawmakers: ‘Unacceptable’ if Biden doesn’t name AAPI Cabinet ‘secretary’ MORE.
“President-Elect Biden promised to build an inclusive government that reflects the full diversity of our nation and that must include AAPIs,” CAPAC said, in reference to Asian American and Pacific Islanders. “For over two decades, there has always been at least one AAPI Cabinet Secretary under both Democratic and Republican administrations. We urge President-elect Biden to continue this progress by nominating Julie Sue as the next U.S. Secretary of Labor.”